August 2, 2009

Ashes

Strauss is no saint

Nishi Narayanan

Let’s not heap too many plaudits on Andrew Strauss for granting his permission for Graham Manou to replace Brad Haddin when the Australian wicketkeeper broke a finger shortly before the start of the game at Edgbaston, writes Martin Johnson in the Sunday Times.

Lord Brocket, as he is known on the circuit, is a chivalrous man (apart perhaps from when he’s instructing overweight physios to waddle onto the field in the hope that someone would take the hint and fall down injured) but to have said: “Sorry Ricky, I’d like to help you out, but a few of our chaps haven’t got an MBE yet” would not have been within the spirit of even the modern game.

In the same paper, David Gower writes that England No. 3 Ravi Bopara must be given time to develop his understanding of the job, encouragement to believe in himself that he is good enough to make it work and a reminder that, while those strokes that make him an attractive player to watch should not be inhibited, every time he defends it must be with as much purpose as he can muster.

In the Observer, Kevin Mitchell asks whether Australia coming to the end of an awesome era.

The cracks in the mask of confidence that is an essential accoutrement in elite sport have appeared on this tour, and widened alarmingly in this match. Without dismissing their individual talents, or their potential, Marcus North, Shane Watson, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Hauritz and Graham Manou no longer provide the consistently high pressure with which Australia have crushed opponents in the past.

To Michael Henderson in the Sunday Telegraph England remains the home of cricket because it is the only place (other than Australia on a good day) where Test cricket is valued by the public.

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Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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